Changing Everything So Everything Remains The Same

Last week I got to hear Pete Rollins speak at Greenbelt, on the topic of “Changing Everything So Everything Remains The Same”. I thought I’d post up some of my notes for you! I just finished reading his new book, The Fidelity Of Betrayal, which looks at a lot of these comments more in depth. Love to hear your thoughts on it too?

* Deeply suspicious of the popular movement to be like the early church again.
* Not trying to succeed where others failed, but trying to fail in better ways.
* We shouldn’t try to fulfill our dreams, but to find new ones. Our dreams reflect the scope and limitations of our theology.
* We find justification after the fact – retroactive justification.
* If you can reason the revolution, then its not a revolution, its in old wineskins.
* The heretic is the one who steps out of the dominant system to create something new.
* (Usually) The best way to silence someone is to give them a place within the system – eg the Franciscan order in the Catholic church.
* “Transgressions that actually solidify the structures”
* “The God of the gaps” – when we don’t know the answer to something, we pull God in – eg the beginning of the world.
* Humans always want to externalise our actions so that we don’t have to take responsibility for it.
* Gods ‘no place’ becomes ‘every place’ – omnipotence – Bonhoeffer.
* Christian prayer – that you no longer believe in the resurrection, but you become the site of a resurrection. Prayer as a mode of being.
* By renouncing heaven, they find heaven; by renouncing an other-worldly salvation we find our salvation here.
* You can never colonise salvation.
* The new expressions are ways of refusing leadership, ways of forcing the responsibility back on ourselves.
* A form of atheism is essential to our faith.
* Our faith is a meganarrative, not a metanarrative – it is a lived truth.
* Protest becomes the heat valve – we protest so we don’t actually have to change our lives.

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6 Responses to “Changing Everything So Everything Remains The Same”


  1. 1 ally simpson September 2, 2008 at 5:17 pm

    Pete Rollins is certainly an interesting character, his thinking on spiritual things goes way over my head though which at times bothers me and at other times i kinda feel like ‘child-like faith’ is not something he could relate to with all his philosophy so ahhhh whatevaaa

  2. 2 emmsy September 2, 2008 at 6:26 pm

    @ ally: i agree with you on much of his thinking being over my head! that said, i recommend you read Fidelity of Betrayal – I found it a much easier read than How (Not) To Speak Of God, and now plan to reread it (How not…) to see if I understand it more. I’ve meet Pete a couple of times and find him to be a very genuine guy. Yes, he thinks on a much higher level than me, and perhaps sometimes that may hinder the child-like faith, though there is also the aspect of “love God with all your mind…” that I think I so often miss. Give and take, eh?!

  3. 3 hollybunch September 3, 2008 at 4:17 pm

    I’ve found recently though that it’s easy to let your mind take over and then be really surprised by God intervening and things getting shaken up. I think some of us swing between overthinking and not thinking at all.

    If you’re academic/intelligent/smart/clever (whatever) then surely it’s important to love God with your mind if that’s what you’re good at… but not at the expense of everything else.

    Or something like that!

  4. 4 ally simpson September 3, 2008 at 9:34 pm

    @emma ah for sure, you know how open-minded yet harshly close-minded i can be!! Postmodern? ah crap did i type that ? haha

  5. 5 rick hill September 3, 2008 at 10:16 pm

    not sure of what i make of that to be honest. much of it went over my head, even on the 3rd read (!!) and perhaps there’s a sense of trying to be too clever and out there………but yeah there should definitely be a place for pete rollins voice to be heard as he challenges the modern day church.

    thanks for posting. i’ll chew on it some more…

  6. 6 emmsy September 4, 2008 at 9:48 pm

    @ rick: isn’t that what we’re all doing – chewing, and attempting to make some sense of what this is all about! hope these notes are helpful in some small way.


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